Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 1502.]

Sir: I confirm Department’s telegram of the 10th instant, and mine of the 11th and 13th.

Immediately on receipt of your instructions I complied therewith by sending to Prince Ch’ing the note, a copy of which I inclose.

I inclose also, 1, note from Prince Ch’ing embodying the Imperial edict declaring China’s neutrality; 2, note from Prince Ch’ing emphasizing the desire of China to observe strict neutrality in all the Empire, including Mongolia, but acknowledging her inability to do so in that part of Manchuria-still under the military occupation of Russia, and presenting the question of the protection of her territorial sovereignty for the consideration of the other foreign powers; 3, notification by the Chinese Government that foreign troops occupying various localities provided for by the final protocol should continue to observe the original intent of the general agreement, and not concern themselves with the aspect of affairs at present changed by the breaking out of war between Russia and Japan.

It certainly seems most desirable that the zone of hostilities should be limited geographically as much as possible, and it is to be hoped that the efforts of the powers mentioned in my dispatch No. 1500, of [Page 121] the 10th, but which appear to be along the same line with your own, may prove successful.

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Conger to Prince Ch’ing.

Your Imperial Highness: I have the honor to inform your imperial highness that I am just in receipt of a telegram from the Secretary of State of the United States, directing me to express to your imperial highness the earnest desire of the United States that in the course of the military operations which have begun between Russia and Japan, the neutrality of China, and, in all practicable ways, her administrative entity shall be respected by both parties, and that the area of hostilities shall be localized and limited as much as possible, so that undue excitement and disturbance of the Chinese people may be prevented and the least possible loss to the commerce and peaceful intercourse of the world may be occasioned.

In communicating these sentiments of my Government to your imperial highness, I avail, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Inclosure 2.]

Prince Ch’ing to Mr. Conger.

I have the honor to inform your excellency that on the 27th of the twelfth moon of the XXIX year of Kuanghsü (February 12, 1904) I received the following Imperial edict:

“Now Russia and Japan, having severed their peaceful relations and appealed to arms, and the court reflecting that both are friendly powers, China ought to observe the laws of neutrality. Let the Tartar generals, viceroys, and governors of the various provinces issue general instructions to the civil and military officials under them, and notify troops and people that all must uniformly and reverently comply so as to strengthen international relations and promote the general welfare. There must be no carelessness. Let this be circulated for general information.” “Respect this.”

As in duty bound, I have reverently copied the above and send it to your excellency that you may transmit it to your honorable Government for its information.

A necessary dispatch.

[Inclosure 3.]

Prince Ch’ing to Mr. Conger.

At present Russia and Japan have severed their peaceful relations and appealed to arms. China is on friendly relations with both. The court remembers well their neighborly kindness, and has already issued an edict declaring neutrality and instructing the various Tartar generals, viceroys, and governors in the provinces to uniformly and reverently observe the same.

Orders have already been sent throughout the empire commanding a uniform observance of this edict and the strictest instructions have been given to maintain the peace and to give thorough protection to all foreign commerce and mission work, of which there is record.

The “Three eastern provinces” (Manchuria) are Chinese frontier territory; Mukden, the capital of Shengking, and Hsingching are the sites of the graves and temples of the imperial ancestors and the palaces of the secondary capital. [Page 122] Their importance is therefore very great and it ought naturally to be the duty of the Tartar general of Mukden to carefully and reverently guard them.

The two powers, Russia and Japan, must not injure the cities and public buildings of these “three provinces,” nor the lives and property of the people, nor should the Chinese troops stationed there come in conflict with either of them.

The territory west of the Liao River is that from which Russia has already withdrawn her troops, and the Superintendent of Trade for the North has sent military forces there to take charge. Throughout the provinces and along the frontiers, including Inner and Outer Mongolia, the two powers (Russia and Japan) must avoid any invasion of Chinese territory, inasmuch as China is observing the laws of neutrality. But at such places in Manchuria as are still in charge of a foreign power and from which its troops have not yet withdrawn, China’s strength is insufficient, and it will be perhaps difficult to strictly observe the laws of neutrality there. No matter which of the two powers may be victorious or defeated the sovereignity of the frontier territory of Manchuria will still revert to China as an independent Government. Neither of the two powers may usurp it. In this earnest effort to protect the general interests we ought to receive the lenient judgment of all the powers, who ought to bear in mind all the circumstances.

Besides sending dispatches to the ministers for Russia and Japan in Peking, as in duty bound, I send this to your excellency that you may transmit it to your honorable Government for its consideration.

A necessary dispatch.

[Inclosure 4.]

Prince Ch’ing to Mr. Conger.

According to the provisions of the seventh and ninth articles of the protocol entered into by the powers on the 25th of the seventh moon, of the XXVII year of Kuanghsü, that is the 7th of September, 1901, of the western calendar, China agreed that the various powers might keep troops in Peking and along the road from Peking to the sea.

It appears therefore that the troops now stationed at Peking, Tientsin, Shan-hai Kuan, and such places are so stationed in accordance with this general agreement. Now that Russia and Japan have unfortunately severed their peaceful relations these troops of the allies retained at said places ought still to observe the original intent of this general agreement and must not concern themselves with the present changed aspect of affairs.

Besides sending dispatches to the ministers of all the other powers, as in duty bound, I have prepared this dispatch for your excellency’s information.

A necessary dispatch.